At Satellite 2009 in Washington DC, Aeroflex announced the commercial availability of their Synthetic Multifunction Adaptable Reconfigurable Test Environment (SMART^E™) 5200 Series. This new hybrid synthetic Satellite Payload Test Environment includes hardware, software, test practices and support provides standard and customizable test programs tailored to the specific problems of testing (standard and customizable) high performance payloads, which consist of multiple channels, each with up to hundreds of connections between the test system and payload under test.
“The SMART^E 5200 replaces the STI1000C Satellite Payload Test System currently installed and in operation at customer sites worldwide,” according to Dr. Francesco Lupinetti, vice president and general manager, Aeroflex High Speed Test Solutions.
SMART^E 5200 is a highly integrated and reliable COTS-based solution. The core modules utilized in the SMART^E 5200 have been shipping in other SMART^E applications for approximately two years. Like the software and user interface, the core modules are production-grade and operationally proven in the field. When combined with proven accessories such as the Remote Calibration Unit (RCU), which allows TVAC testing of payloads with as many as 384 ports at an extended frequency of 40 GHz.
Aeroflex has more than ten years of experience in fielding synthetic test systems specifically configured for testing satellite payloads. Customers utilize the same systems for all stages of payload integration and test, including panel testing, reference performance testing of the full payload, testing in a thermal vacuum chamber and antenna-range testing in anechoic chambers.
Different satellite payloads may have many similarities, no two payloads are exactly alike and no two manufacturers have exactly the same test strategies and methodologies. When designing the SMART^E 5200, Aeroflex’s objective was to create a test environment solution with core capabilities that addresses the common aspects of satellite payload test and still remain flexible enough so that it can be easily customized to match the unique requirements of any given payload and associated customer. Each of the Satellite Payload Test Systems from Aeroflex share common core elements, but are customized with unique test aspects for each customer implementation.
The latest SMART^E Test Environments implement the core RF/microwave functions to be more modular in terms of the frequency ranges and power characteristics for the various applications. Satellite payloads operate at different frequencies and power levels depending upon the system application/mission to which they are applied. Frequency and power are two of the most basic cost drivers for microwave equipment, so the most cost-efficient solution is a test system that optimally and dynamically matches the range of frequency and power characteristics of the modules to be tested.
Together with full diagnostic capabilities, calibration and NIST traceable standards, Aeroflex supplies a standard library of common tests with each Satellite Payload Test Environment, including: Payload Control, Multi Carrier, Gain Transfer/ALC, Noise Power Ratio, Noise Figure, Frequency Conversion, Amplitude Linearity, Group Delay/Phase vs. Frequency, Passive Intermodulation, and many more.